Never cooked squid at home? Not only is preparing it fast and easy, buying it is also straightforward, once you know a few pointers.
GOOD SQUID LOOKS PRISTINE
Squid should look moist, shiny, and ivory‑colored.
CLEANED SQUID IS SOLD IN TWO PARTS
Most fishmongers sell both squid bodies and squid tentacles. The bodies tend to be smooth and tender, while the tentacles offer pleasant chew and more surface area.
BUY WHOLE BODIES WHEN POSSIBLE
Though we’ve found the quality of precut rings to be just fine, buying whole bodies allows you to cut them to your own specification.
MOST SQUID HAS BEEN FROZEN
Unless you have access to squid direct from the boat, anything you buy has been previously frozen and treated with additives such as sodium citrate and sodium carbonate to inhibit spoilage and enhance texture. But that’s fine: We found the quality of frozen squid—both frozen in the supermarket freezer section and thawed at the fish counter—to be good, and we didn’t detect any off-flavors or textures as we have in other types of treated seafood.
If you buy thawed: Ask the fishmonger how long it’s been thawed. For the best quality, thawed squid should be cooked within two days.
If you buy frozen: Many supermarkets carry frozen squid packaged in blocks of whole bodies or rings. To use part of a frozen block, wrap the block in a dish towel and press it against the edge of a counter or table to break it.
STORE UNCOOKED SQUID ON ICE
Like all seafood, squid deteriorates rapidly. Keep it in the back of the refrigerator, where it’s coldest, in a zipper-lock bag resting on a bed of ice.